Why Every Young Professional Should Have A Side Hustle

This post is a little more buttoned up than my usual because I actually published this on LinkedIn first. It was kind of a big deal for me for a few reasons: One, publishing on LinkedIn adds a bit more pressure because all professional eyes are on you. It’s so much easier writing posts for my blog! Two, it was my first time I publicly mentioned my blog as a “side hustle”. Sure many people knew I had a blog, but I finally confessed that it’s much more than a hobby. It takes too much damn time to be a hobby. And finally, I work full-time at LinkedIn so it’s a big deal to me talking about what I do outside of my full-time job.

Hope you enjoy!

We millennials are known to want it all. We are known to be restless and a little naive, but I don’t think that’s necessarily bad.

Our itch to do more, be more, drives us closer to our dreams and goals. Yet the desire alone isn’t enough — we have to work for it.

Many of us have turned to side hustles: part-time gigs that supplement and complement our nine-to-five, and help us get closer to our long-term career and life goals. Some of us are creating our own clothing brands, others are picking up photography, blogging, or design. For others, the side hustle may be something as simple as working at a coffee shop or driving for a ride-sharing app. No matter what the hustle may be, almost all of them are stepping stones toward a larger goal.

Personally, I’ve been working a corporate job the last few years, and I’ve recently started to invest more in my passions by finding ways to monetize them. Alongside my full-time job as an insights analyst, I also teach group fitness and run my own wellness blog.

Side hustles are extremely beneficial when you are young and new in your career for a few reasons:

1. You appreciate your full-time job way more

The more you start investing in your side hustle, the more you come to appreciate the benefits from your full-time gig! With a side hustle, you don’t get the nice perks (goodbye health insurance and 401K!), you don’t have a team to lean on, and you may not even have the luxury of an office. It’s hard running your own business, and you sometimes forget the little (and the big) things you’ve been taking for granted. It’s a very humbling process.

2. You get to be your own boss — and learn from the good and bad

So you may miss out on the comforts of a corporate job, but with a side hustle you get to have 100-percent control over you and your business, which can be both terrifying and amazing. I’ve experienced more rejection, self-doubt, and excitement with my side hustles than I ever have with my full-time job. I’ve grown both personally and professionally from these key moments and I know these learnings will help with my career down the line.

3. You diversify your skill set

Many skills you pick up a corporate setting are very applicable to your side hustles, and vice versa. For example, public speaking is a skill I’ve always wanted to perfect — I’ve tried Toastmasters and other projects at my job, and they all helped to an extent. However, through teaching group fitness, I’ve seen a bigger improvement in my public speaking skills in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years; it’s because I threw myself into a job that forces me to get better.

4. You become a pro with time management

All right, so “pro” might be a stretch, but you do get much better with your time when you have more responsibilities added to your plate (just ask any new parent!). If you want to pursue your own idea and also keep your nine-to-five, you have to find a way to make it work. That may mean scheduling everything down to the hour, waking up earlier in the morning to work on your idea, or just being more efficient with your time (ie, not checking Instagram every hour…).

5. You professional network gets even bigger

Finally, through your side hustle, you expand and diversify your network. When you grow your professional network, you have the opportunity to learn and understand different perspectives from a wide variety of people. The breadth of your network can be very valuable; you are more aware about how other people work, you understand how business is conducted in different industries, and you have a chance to make new friends!

For those of you pursuing your own side hustles, what advice/learnings do you have from your personal experience?

Registered Dietitian Dixya Bhattarai Shares Her Nutrition Tips!

I am so excited to present this interview with blogger and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dixya Bhattarai! I met Dixya through an online blogger community and I was thrilled to meet another South Asian blogger. I also could not stop drooling over her food pictures on Instagram (find her @foodpleasurehealth). I finally tried her vegan pots de creme recipe for Valentine’s day and from then I knew she was the real deal. A little bit about Dixya: she’s originally from Nepal but currently calls Dallas home. She has a really balanced approach to food & nutrition and I am all for that :).

I’ll let her tell you guys more!

Easy Vegan Pots de Creme

+Introduce yourself to us please 🙂
Hi everyone, my name is Dixya Bhattarai – Registered Dietitian & Food Blogger behind Food, Pleasure, and Health. I am also a daughter, sister, girlfriend, and a chronic tea drinker (among many other things) currently based in Fort Worth, Texas. When I am not at the hospital working as a Clinical Dietitian, I love to cook, read books (with interesting pretty covers), or hanging out with my 4 year old fur child. I used to run regularly but within the last 2 years or so, I have picked up yoga, weight training, and brisk walking.

+How did you get interested in nutrition and then later get a degree as an RD?
When I first moved here [from Nepal] I had no idea what I was really interested in so I took general classes to begin with. My cousin was pursuing her nursing degree at that time and told me about a major in nutrition. I don’t recall if I did any research or anything on becoming an RD (it was long time ago), I simply signed up for a basic nutrition class and loved it. I took couple more nutrition classes and a career as an RD just felt right. I had an excellent academic advisor (Laura Mcknight) and internship director (Golda Ewalt) who has helped me tremendously to become an RD I am today.

+What is one change a person can make to their lifestyle to focus more on their nutrition?
Making health and wellness as your top priority is probably one of the challenging yet simplest thing one can do in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Once you prioritize your health and treat it like an important appointment (such as going to the gym at 7 pm, meal planning every Sunday afternoon, or going to bed at 10 pm), you will naturally start paying attention to nutrition.

Sprouted Mung Bean SaladSprouted Mung Bean Salad

+What can one do to make South Asian food a little healthier?
Growing up in a household where rice, daal, and vegetables were eaten twice a day and few snacks in between, I know we can definitely do better at using less oil while cooking vegetables and less sugar in tea especially if you drink tea 3-4 times a day with snacks.

South Asian food can be well-balanced and really nutritious but we tend to fill our plate with more carbs (rice, bread) compared to protein, vegetables, and fruits.

A lot of our snacks are deep-fried, sweet laden, and salty so we can perhaps replace some of those with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.

+What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?
I love trail mix, granola, energy bites, or fresh fruit.

+Can you share some of your favorite recipes with us?
I am not a chef or a culinary expert so I do a lot of non-traditional weeknight-friendly wholesome recipes that are delicious. Some of my fav recipes include:

Tofu Palak
Chicken Tikka Lettuce Wrap
Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
Golden Milk Popsicles

Tofu Tikka Masala

Please do let me know if you try her recipes! I’m particularly craving the Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas :).

Instagram: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As a newer blogger, I’ve been learning the ins and outs with social media and out of all platforms, Instagram is where I spend the most of my time. I really do enjoy sharing and seeing other people’s pictures but over the years instagram has transformed into a platform for business and it’s changed the vibe in big ways.

There’s a lot that can be said about this seemingly innocuous photo-sharing platform so I’m going to divvy it up into three categories: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The Good:

I absolutely LOVE how Instagram has helped me connected with other like-minded individuals (shameless plug, you can find me @citrusandgold). I’ve met amazing women into fitness, POP pilates, and I’ve also got the chance to connect south asian influencers who are killing it. It’s also a really great source for inspiration: whether for workouts, photography, places to visit…you name it!

Great example: I met Kruti Shah (who is amazing!!) through Instagram and I was able to share her story with health & wellness on my blog. It’s really great for community-building.

The Bad:

Instagram can also be a huge waste of time. Sometimes I feel like I’m “working” on my blog but what I’m really doing is spending hours scrolling through Instagram and commenting, hoping to make a dent. Also if you are a blogger (READ: Blogging 101: How to Choose a Blog Name), it’s good to know that Instagram isn’t great for conversion (i.e. bringing traffic to your site).

It can also increase the feeling of FOMO, and it paints a very superficial & curated version of someone’s life. Note to all: Instagram is NOT real life. People go to the greatest lengths to take the perfect picture.

Example: Remember Essena O’Neill, the insta-famous Australian model? Here she talks about why she called it quits with Instagram.

The Ugly:

Okay this part is where I get really frustrated with Instagram: the followers game. There are so many shady tactics that people follow to get more followers. Here are just a few:

  • There are apps & services that let you buy followers that are essentially fake but active accounts
  • Some people follow the tactic of using bots to comment with stupid emojis or generic terms like “Perfect!” or “Love!” It’s becoming easier to spot these fake comments so I’m not sure why people are still doing it. Not trying to become friends with a bunch of R2-D2s.
  • The sneakiest way is probably the follow & unfollow method. Again there are apps that help you follow a bunch of people in your niche, hoping they will follow-back. Then within a couple of days, you automatically unfollow these people so your follower to following ratio is higher.

I don’t want to call anyone out for using these ways, but it just seems so unethical. I mean a part of me gets it. You have to hustle to get noticed and sometimes it may need to do whatever it takes. But there has to be better ways to grow your brand.

Here’s the deal: I’m not giving up on Instagram but I want to really focus more time on writing valuable content and less on promoting on social media. And ultimately, I hope that means you have to waste less time scrolling through Instagram & Facebook (and spend it on things that actually matter).

If you’re interested, and want to stay in the loop about what I’m writing please subscribe below!

As for Instagram, I vow to stay ethical with my practice and grow the slow, authentic way.



Bloggers, if you use instagram to reach a large audience then you should know the pros and cons of this social media platform

My Thoughts on the Turmeric Latte

turmeric-latte

turmeric-latte
photo credit: Kruti Shah

If you’re South Asian, it’s likely that you’ve seen this article (or a version of it) on the turmeric latte. The turmeric latte is a fancy name for what we’ve been drinking since childhood, haldi ka doodh.

I’ve had a handful of friends & family share this article with me because they know it’s very relevant to this blog.

My thoughts on it? Eh. It makes me shake my head a little but not much more than that.

Some points are a little frustrating, like how Irene Arango tells us how we should make turmeric milk (with cold pressed turmeric juice apparently). Turmeric milk is a something mothers & grandmothers have been preaching to us as long as we can remember and I feel a little uncomfortable being told how to make it by someone who didn’t grow up with it. Ya feel me?

But, in the end, I don’t think it’s worth making a fuss because we have probably taken other health trends for granted.

For example, quinoa was a staple grain in the Andean region for over 3,000 years. Kombucha has been around Asian culture since the ancient times. Matcha is a type of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Let’s face it, Western culture is influenced by so many people of different backgrounds, I’m sure we’ve benefitted from the mix of different cultures it in someway without realizing. Frankly, I enjoy being able to order a Matcha Green Tea Latte from Starbucks.

I mean in the end, I think it’s ironic (oh heey Alanis Morrissette) that something we used to hate as kids is now so trendy. I spoke to another South Asian health & wellness influencer, Kruti Shah (who also took the amazing picture up top), to see what she thought and she said “Personally I think it’s so funny how it’s trendy but I’m glad a lot of people are seeing the benefits of turmeric & how great it is for the body.”

We can only be optimistic that these health trends will bring awareness to tips and tricks that have been around other cultures for centuries. Trends in health & wellness can be great as they bring us different ways to treat our mind & body. But let’s make sure to look at these trends with a critical eye.

Thoughts? Opinions? Would love to hear what others have to say.

P.S. If you like posts like these, I would be super duper happy if you can subscribe to the to the blog! Promise I won’t spam you 🙂

The turmeric latte is a new wellness trend but it's been around in Indian culture for ages. As a South Asian wellness blogger, here are my thoughts on it.

10 Ways to Treat your Mind & Body (On a Budget!)

I’m all about treating ourselves when we can. Whether it’s a glass of wine in the evening, a quick online shopping spree (c’mon we are all guilty), or a fancy massage, we all deserve a little bit of pampering.

However, there are times where I find I’m using instant satisfaction to ease something deeper…and it doesn’t work. Though a rich creamy chocolate bar or a nice dinner may be great in the moment, they don’t do much if you are trying to fix something more unsettling.

I think we need to find more ways to treat our senses to ultimately gratify our minds and bodies long-term. I’ve shared 10 ways I like to treat my mind & body on a budget. Note I didn’t include anything that includes food and that’s on purpose because we so often use food as treats and there are so many other ways we can “reward” ourselves.

10 Ways to Treat Your Mind & Body on a Budget:

1. Meditate for 10 minutes with Headspace.
2. Foam roll while listening to your favorite podcast. Possibly This American Life or my new favorite, Him & Her, by the Skinny Confidential?
3. Go on a walk or a hike with no timeline, purpose, or stress.
4. Try a face mask at home with your best friend, mother, or significant other! Make sure to take a picture so you can laugh together later (or use it as blackmail…shh).
5. Take an extra 15 minutes in the morning to get ready. Play some music, look yourself in the mirror, and love what you see.
6. Try this POP Pilates stretching routine (via Blogilates)
7. Massage warm coconut oil or olive oil into your scalp before taking a warm shower.
8. Run a scenic route – focus on your surroundings, not speed.
9. Take a blank piece of paper or canvas and start doodling or painting.
10. Open a journal and write whatever comes to mind for 5-10 minutes.

Hope these ideas give you a few more options to calm & relax your mind and body.

I’m planning on using my Headspace app tonight before bed :).

Take time for self-care and relaxation with these 10 budget-friendly tips to treat your mind and body
Take time for self-care and relaxation with these 10 budget-friendly tips to treat your mind and body

Birthday Post: Five Lessons for Twenty-Five

birthday-group-pic

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 25th birthday (woohoo!). There is a big difference between the reality vs. expectations of turning 25. I can’t say the difference is bad. It’s becoming more obvious that our lives becomes less linear and way more confusing as we grow older…but hey, maybe that’s okay.

Honestly my expectations were kind of boring & left little room for spontaneity (yawn). I never expected that I would be running a blog on the side, or getting certified in POP Pilates, or that I would be meeting some of the amazing people who are now in my life.

With the successes there were also struggles; last year was filled with many emotions. I’d switch between feelings of uncertainty and anxiety to happiness and confidence within a day or even hours. There was a bit of intentional change & unexpected change in my life and it had left me emotionally exhausted (READ: Maybe This is What Quarter Life Crisis Feels Like?).

However, like always, with the good & the bad there were learnings. Plenty of them. And I’ve chosen my top 5 lessons to share for the big 2-5.

Mental health is as important as physical health

It feels like society wants us to be super humans. How many quotes do you see floating around on social media that go like “You can conquer everything!”, “You are Wonder Woman!”, “Rise & Grind,” etc.? They all are with good intention but they neglect how we actually feel and focus more on what we do – even if it doesn’t feel right. With fitness especially, there’s a disproportionate amount of emphasize on the physical. How about we leave a little more space for our minds?

Respect everyone’s time (including your own)

Time is precious & it should be respected. It’s so important to set boundaries for what you are willing to do with your time then allocate it to your work, your personal life, your family, & friends. When it comes to making time for your family & friends do your absolute best to prioritize them in your crazy schedule. Oh, and invest time in those who will make time for you in return.

Don’t waste time on a flat tummy

I can’t tell you how much time I spent in my early 20s trying to get “the perfect body”. I wasted so much time scrolling through blogs & Instagram hoping I’d one day have abs like those I see online. Did it make me feel better? No. Are people going to love me more if I have a six pack? No (well, maybe if I had a six-pack of beer :)).

Think about about all the people you love: if they gained 10 lbs, would you love them any less? No, right? Then why do we care about of own bodies so much as if we need external validation? Take that wasted time and focus your energy on something more fulfilling.

Patience is hard, but important

As millennials when we want something we want it now. Personally, I’ve been impatient with my career, my blog, literally anything you can name. I’m slowly starting to learn that success comes by chipping away at want you want, bit by bit.

Embrace your community

I’m a bit of an introvert so I have a tendency to do things on my own, (somewhat of a lone wolf I may say). Although I do enjoy my independence, I am so much better off with a supportive community around me. This past year I’ve expanded my circle of trust and have let others teach me a whole lot, but more importantly, give me the confidence to continue to do what I love.

So if you are anything like me, realize that there are people who can help elevate you. Trust them, mingle a little, and expand that little (or big!) circle.